Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: May 17

Mitch Kasprick is the “Motown Curmudgeon” aka “Motown Mitch”

Odds and Ends, Thoughts and Questions, from this past week in hockey –

Just so there’s no confusion when I’m spewing my bias, I am a fan of the Winnipeg Jets, Arizona Coyotes, Manitoba Moose, Winnipeg Ice, and all Team Canada Hockey teams.

I am NOT a fan of Gary Bettman or as I call him, Count Chocula.  I am a big believer in the 7Ps. You’ve been warned. 

1. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets won 2 out of 3 home games last week to end their season at 30-23-3.  After a horrible stretch of losing the Jets finished their regular season on a semi-positive note winning 3 of their last 5 games.  They now head into their first-round playoff match-up versus the heavily favoured Edmonton Oilers and most Jets fans are hoping this isn’t Jets 1.0 all over again.   

Who wins the Jets vs Oilers series?

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2. Jets:  Well it is playoff time and Jets fans are really hoping to see playoff Pierre-Luc Dubois.  I expect PLD and Adam Lowry to be huge factors in this series.   

3. JetsI love watching the IIHF World Championships but having Cole Perfetti on Team Canada makes it even more interesting.  CONGRATS COLE!

4. Moose:  The Manitoba Moose finished their season going 0-2-1-1 versus Belleville and had their streak of consecutive games gaining points snapped at 13.  Their overall record ended up being a solid 18-13-3-2 on the season.  This Moose team was a lot of fun to watch this season.  

5. Jets:  Poll Question:  Should Chevy cut a deal with Seattle GM Ron Francis so the Jets don’t lose a player off their roster in the expansion draft?  In the 2017 Vegas expansion draft the Jets and Vegas cut a deal where the Golden Knights would select Chris Thorburn’s expiring contract.  In the deal they flip-flopped 1st rounders with Winnipeg acquiring the 24th pick (from Vegas, from Columbus) in the 2017 NHL Draft in exchange for the 13th pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, and the Jets third-round selection in 2019.  

Will Chevy or should Chevy cut a deal with Seattle GM Ron Francis so the Jets don't lose a player in the expansion draft?

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6. NHL:  The Tampa Bay Lightning roster is currently $17,000,000 (approx) over the salary cap but the NHL doesn’t have cap restrictions for the playoffs.  Teams always find a loophole and this one looks real bad on the NHL.  This will need to be addressed because right now there are a lot of really pissed off GMs.

7. Jets:  Special teams are huge come playoff time.  The Jets PK looks to be solid but defending against the Oilers PP is a tall order and the best defence against this is to stay out of the penalty box.  I have to admit I’m concerned about the Jets PP and the way it has stagnated down the stretch.  Hopefully the officials don’t turn this into a special teams battle and we see lots of 5 on 5 hockey.   

8. Jets:  Kyle Connor has started scoring again and it couldn’t have come at a getter time.  The Winnipeg Jets need him scoring because that is his biggest contribution to this team.  If he’s not scoring he doesn’t really contribute much else.      

9. Jets:  I believe this Winnipeg team is better equipped to beat the McDavid Oilers than Jets 1.0 were to beat the Gretzky Oilers.  Those Gretzky teams were definitely better than our Jets BUT in spite of Winnipeg’s record against them this season I don’t think this Oilers team is better than our Jets.  Of course the Jets will need to be at their best and the coaches will need to implement a winning game plan but I think we can win this series.  (see #1)  

10. Jets:  The line of Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, and Blake Wheeler have an opportunity to change the narrative that they are done as a top line.  Hopefully a healthy Blake Wheeler can get them playing the way they did a couple of years ago against Nashville.   

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11. JetsRight now, to start the playoffs I would prefer seeing Logan Stanley in the 3rd pairing over Tucker Poolman.  I’ve been really down on Poolman in the second half of this season.  If you’re a regular reader here I’m sure you are aware of that.  I haven’t been kind to him.   

12. NHL:  Key dates.

  • May 15 – Playoffs begin
  • July 15 – The latest the Stanley Cup can be awarded
  • July 17 – Expansion draft protection lists tentatively due
  • July 21 – Expansion draft
  • July 23-24 – 2021 NHL Entry Draft
  • July 28 – Free agency opens

13. Jets:  Is Paul Maurice’s or Kevin Cheveldayoff’s job in jeopardy?

After being swept in the second round by Montreal should heads roll?

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14. Jets:  Based on practice pairings ahead of Wednesday’s game one vs Edmonton it looks like the defensive pairings could be:




15. Jets:  Playoff Schedule

1. Wednesday May 19 at Edmonton 8:00 PM 

2. Friday  May 21 at Edmonton 8:00 PM 

3. Sunday May 23  vs Edmonton 6:30 PM

4. Monday May 24 vs Edmonton 8:45 PM

5. Wednesday May 26 at Edmonton TBD  (if necessary)

6. Friday May 28 vs Edmonton TBD  (if necessary)

7. Sunday May 30 at Edmonton TBD  (if necessary)

16. Jets:  The biggest question in town is will Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers be dressed for game one?  All Jets fans have our fingers crossed because this is a different and much better team with Ehlers in the lineup.  Outside of Helle, he might be (he is) our best player.  

17. Jets:  Special Teams: Rule of thumb. Have the two red numbers (PK and PP) total at least 100% when added (as your minimum).  I also base the movement (up or down) on the % and not the NHL ranking.

Final regular season Canadian Division rankings.

  • PP: 2nd at 23.00% down from 23.90% last week.
  • PK: 3rd at 80.50 up from 79.90% last week. 
  • FO: 3rd at 50.50 up from 50.20% last week.

18. Jets:  It took all season but it looks like Dylan DeMelo will be paired with Josh Morrissey going into the playoffs.  They played together down the stretch and looked very comfortable, just like they were last season.  I’ve also liked when Paul Maurice has paired Neal Pionk together with Morrissey when they need to push the pace and need offence.     

19. Goaltending:

Final regular season stats:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  24-17-3 … 2.58 GAA … .916 SV% 
  • Laurent Brossoit:  6-6-0 … 2.42 GAA … .918 SV%

20. Jets:  For me, Jordy Benn has been a lot better than expected.  He provides a physical presence and moves the puck better than I thought.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts in game on versus the Oilers.  (see #14)  


In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

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Thanks, Mitch

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